- Denominational Affairs: Defend Democracy and Separation of Church and State
At this year’s National Prayer Breakfast, Donald Trump promised to “get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment,” and now some Members of Congress and others are seeking to repeal it.
Since 1954, the Johnson Amendment has drawn a line between tax-exempt religious organizations and other charities, and political spending to support or attack candidates.
Please join the UUA and other faith organizations in telling Congress not to change the current law that keep congregations from becoming centers of partisan politics. Visit faith-voices.org to add your name to the growing list of faith leaders (clergy and congregational leaders) standing up for the integrity and independence of houses of worship.
To read more about Love Resists, click here.
- Denominational Affairs: June 4–Rev. William Barber In a few weeks Rev. William Barber will be announcing dates and stops for a 2017-18 new Poor People’s Campaign tour. On June 4, the campaign is launching a monthly Sunday-evening program “The Gathering: A Time for Reflection, Revival and Resistance.” You can sign up to view and to host a live stream of The Gathering in your community.Rev. Barber writes: “As we gathered to announce that I am stepping down from leadership of the NC NAACP to serve a new Poor People’s Campaign that will share this movement with other states and with the nation, we got news from the Supreme Court that out victory against voter suppression–a four year legal battle–will stand. For me, it was a confirmation: moral fusion organizing can transform mean-spirited ‘divide-and-conquer’ politics into a Third Reconstruction for America.”
- Denominational Affairs: June 9-Love Resists Conference Call
Join the hosting monthly one-hour Love Resists Conscience Calls to deepen spiritually grounded justice work and build community.
On the next Love Resists Conscience Call, we will hear from Caitlin Breedlove, Vice President of Movement Leadership at Auburn Theological Seminary, and former UUA Standing on the Side of Love Campaign Director.
Caitlin will provide us with an overview of the political landscape, the organizing challenges and opportunities at this time, and how UUs and Love Resists can make a difference. As is our practice on these calls we will ground ourselves spiritually and have time for small group sharing and reflection.
To read more about Love Resists, the UUA and UUSC joint campaign, click here.
- Denominational Affairs: Love Resists…an Overview
At the same time over 600 UU congregations signed up for the #UU White Supremacy Teach-In organized by UU religious educators of color with support from Black Lives of UU.
Thousands of UUs took to the streets for the People’s Climate March and May Day and we are receiving news daily of congregations voting to become sanctuary and solidarity congregations.
Our movement is responding to the need to ready ourselves for deep, protracted, sustainable and intersectional justice-making—inside and out.In this issue, we have three invitations to help strengthen your justice work, revive your spirits, build multiracial UU and multi-faith community and defend our democracy:
- Join Love Resists monthly Conscience Calls – next one on June 9.
- View/host a monthly multi-faith livestream from Rev. William Barber on Reflection, Revival & Resistance and the new Poor People’s Campaign – June 4th
- Sign & share a Faith Leaders Letter from the UUA and other faith organizations to Congress to Defend Democracy and Keep our Houses of Worship Non-Partisan.
Click here to read more.
- Join Love Resists monthly Conscience Calls – next one on June 9.
- June 4: Cause of the Month Conversation
Join a representative from The Cottage on Sunday, June 4, from 9:30-10:20 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall to learn more about this June Cause of the Month.
- Care Connections
Sally Randall is home recuperating from recent back surgery. Cards and notes can be sent to their home. Contact Shaye if you need the address (uufa@uuathensga, 706-546-7914).
- June 4: Social Action Committee
You are invited to attend the next meeting of the Social Action Committee (SAC) Sunday, June 4, beginning at 12:30 p.m. in the front office.
Can’t attend? If you would like to know what transpires in the UUFA SAC, join the SAC listerv here: http://lists.uuathensga.org/listinfo.cgi/social_action-uuathensga.org
This listserv will let you know what transpires not only in the UUFA SAC but also in the local Athens area in terms of social action. Everyone is encouraged to sign up!
For more information, contact SAC Chair David Jarrett (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Space Available in Summer Camps
There are still slots left in our supremely fun summer weeklong day camp programs! Please visit http://uuathensga.org/education/summer-camps/ for more information
Peace Camp: June 26-30; Hogwarts School at the Pyramid: Session 1- July 10-14, Session 2- July 17-21
- Farewell to UUFA from DRE Morgan!
Dear UUFA folks,
I sit with a heavy heart as I realize this is the last Family Tree I will write for the congregation, and the reality of stepping out of the church doors settles in. By the end of May, I will have served the congregation for eight glorious program years, and I have loved this work with all my heart.
I will miss you all very much, yet I’m also excited about the next chapter opening up before me. As of this writing, I plan to co-purchase and live on a 40’ trawler-style boat at the Brunswick Landing Marina (and wherever I cruise!) in Brunswick, Ga.
Upon the close of his business, my partner John will join me as a live-aboard later. There, we’ll continue ongoing plans to acquire a small island on the Altamaha Sound, where we hope to build a home and maybe even a low-key camp and retreat center. This is a very longtime dream coming to fruition! I promise to keep you all posted.
Meanwhile, I’m excited about the DRE Transition Team’s selection of Kelli McConnell to take up the RE helm (yes, boat’s on the mind!) as the Coordinator of Religious Education. Be on the lookout for more information about Kelli later this month. We are graced with some transition time together, as Kelli begins learning to navigate the complex waterways of the Children and Youth RE program on May 15th, working with me through the end of the month. Her first Sunday will be May 21.
I also want to make sure you’re aware of another important aspect of this transition. Religious professional guidelines suggest that the best practice in these transitions is for the outgoing person to step away from the congregation for a year before visiting back. So I want you to know that, aside from special circumstances such as a funeral or wedding that may arise, I won’t be coming in to visit for a while. I am deeply grateful for my time here, and I hope to return for a visit one day down the line.
Until then…. Much love to you all!
There are good ships, And there are wood ships,
The ships that sail the sea.
But the best ships, Are friendships,
And may they always be.
- May 28: Smart Lunch Smart Kid Sandwich Making and Lunch Assembling. YoUU are invited to be part of the Smart Lunch Smart Kid sandwich making and lunch assembling on Sunday, May 28, beginning at noon-ish (after the Fourth Sunday lunch) in the kitchen and Fellowship Hall as we make 200 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches lunches for the Smart Lunch Smart Kid
program, which provides summer lunches to students who traditionally receive free and reduced-lunches during the school year.Contributions needed:
Help needed on Tuesday, May 30, to deliver the lunches between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. to the Milledge Avenue Baptist Church.Not a fan of “cooking”? Monetary contributions are always need. Please put Smart Lunch Smart Kid in the check memo line.Please click here to RVSP for this summer SAC (Social Action Committee Project).Not in town on May 28? Join us for sandwich making, lunch assembling on Sunday, July 16 and Sunday, July 23, beginning at noon.
- peanut butter
- grape jelly
- individually wrapped salty snacks (pretzels, trail mix, cheese crackers, peanut butter crackers, veggie chips, etc)
- individual fruit snacks (fresh fruit, dried fruit, fruit chips, apple sauce, fruit cups)
- Ziploc sandwich bags
- brown lunch bags.
- Back By Popular Demand! Enjoyable Entertainment Events
The return of Enjoyable Entertainment Events (fun evenings planned and hosted by members of the congregation for which we sell tickets to those who want to attend these fun evenings) will be organized by Jane Mayer and Carol-Lee Baker. Our current plan is to have a kick off at 4th Sunday lunch in September. We will have sign up sheets and sell tickets for each of the events on that day.
Anyone who is interested in hosting an event, please contact Jane or Carol-Lee on a Sunday morning or at the email address below. Events can be a brunch, a dinner, a pie and poetry evening or game night. Or you can be creative and design your own individual event. They can be held at the Fellowship (and accommodate more guests) or in the home of the host They are FUN and provide an opportunity for a closer connection to fellow UUFA friends.
Please contact Carol-Lee at email@example.com or Jane Mayer at firstname.lastname@example.org For more information and to host an event.
- Unique Summer Opportunity at UUFA
Would you like to brush up on your office skills? Or learn new ones while serving your community and making a little cash in the process?! The UUFA Administrative Office has a temporary position open for June and July. Position is for an administrative office assistant to make copies, sort mail, file papers, answer phones, greet people, assist with building maintenance duties as feasible, and assist in camp administration as needed, on Tuesdays and Fridays from noon until 4 pm for $8/hour. UUFA members may apply for this temporary position. Email email@example.com for more information. Applicants should be 17 years old or older and must agree to a background check and the UUFA Staff Covenant.
- What Can You Do to Welcome Elod?
He’s eighteen! He’s a Unitarian! He’s from Transylvania!
Elod is the son of our partner church’s minister and his wife, and he will visit us from June 3rd until July 3rd. The Partner Church Committee is lining up volunteers to entertain and educate him. ( He’s an English as a Second Language student.) If you can contribute time and talent (and maybe a little treasure ) to making his visit memorable, please contact Heather Kleiner (firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or Michelle Liebens-Mack (email@example.com) to volunteer. Thanks! (L-R: Rev. Levente & Elod).
- Denominational Affairs: UUA Southern Region–Read All about It!
Click here to read the Mid-May 2017 Southern Region UUA newsletter.
- 3rd Note from Sabbatical Road, by Rev. Alison
As I head deeper into May I realize I’ve completed half of my sabbatical journey. That means my thoughts are beginning to return to UUFA and the upcoming program year. But before that time comes I have a few more travel plans, including General Assembly in June. I hope to see some of you in New Orleans.
After returning from Ireland in April, I was home for only a few days before heading off to The Mountain for the Southeast Unitarian Universalist Ministers Spring Retreat (SEUUMA). Two Unitarian Universalist Association staff members, Richard Nugent and Jan Gartner, presented a program on ‘Care for Self & Staff’. This included information and best practices around the congregation as employer and minister as chief of staff and/or supervisor. We discussed topics such as start-ups for new employees, insurance, and retirement. We even had a sneak peak at a new Ministerial Agreement from the UUA. This is the basic contract a congregation works from when calling a minister. It may be complete by General Assembly and if so, I’ll bring it back to UUFA’s Board of Trustees for a conversation about whether to update my agreement made seven years ago.
The discussion we had at the retreat around new employee start-ups was timely given that UUFA has now employed Kelli McConnell to be our Coordinator of Religious Education for the next year. She begins training on May 14 with outgoing Director of Religious Education, Morgan Watson.
On the same day I returned from The Mountain I participated in an interfaith panel discussion at Congregation Children of Israel, the Jewish synagogue. I joined Rabbi Eric Linder, Pastor Paul Baxley, and Imam Adel Amer to speak about what allows us to be in conversation with each other and ways we are similar and different. A good crowd attended, including many folks from the Fellowship. I was happy to see you there and I hope I represented our tradition well.
By participating in this event (as well as the March for Science on Earth Day) I continue to meet one of my sabbatical goals of deepening interfaith connections in Athens. I continue to meet with two different clergy groups each month, also.
To get ready for the new program year, I’ve set up some planning meetings with the Worship Arts Committee and the Ministry Council to take place during my Study Leave time in July.
During my remaining sabbatical time I’ll be reducing the mountain of reading material I want to get to. I read several Celtic spirituality books in advance of my pilgrimage to Ireland. I just completed Who’s in Charge Here?, the UUA Commission on Appraisal’s most recent study on ministry and authority in our congregations. The study identified areas where congregations and ministers are commonly unclear about who has authority for particular decisions or activities, and where they may be in conflict over that authority. Our Fellowship occasionally experiences some healthy tension over authority. As a congregation’s size or governance changes, it is wise to review where authority rests for different community activities. At the moment there doesn’t seem to be a free pdf version available, but you can purchase the report online (http://www.uuabookstore.org/Whos-In-Charge-Here-P17331.aspx).
My return to UUFA feels just around the corner. I’ll be ready come August to be back in the pulpit, but until then be well.
In faith, Rev. Alison
For earlier Sabbatical Road posts follow the links below.
- Irene Muthe Memorial Service 4pm June 3
Irene Muthe passed away at home on Friday, April 21. Irene and her husband John were married 45 years and had been members of UUFA since 2006. Irene had been in declining health over the last eighteen months, following a fall. Irene was born in Germany and emigrated to the U.S. in 1959. A “Celebration of Life” Memorial Service will be held at UUFA on Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 4 p.m.
- Denominational Affairs: May 9 Updates from UUA Interim Co-Presidents The Unitarian Universalist Association’s (UUA) Interim Co-Presidents, the Revs. Sofía Betancourt and William Sinkford and Dr. Leon Spencer, shared the following message Tuesday morning:
Over the past three weeks we have spoken frequently about the hope-filled possibilities inherent in this moment for our Unitarian Universalist movement. That leaning into hope is based in large part from the powerful healing impact of truth and reconciliation commissions following times of extreme conflict around the globe. We know the importance of truth telling, just as we understand that it is the long-term work of justice that leads to reconciliation in community. We also remind ourselves regularly that high emotions, the kind born of strong commitments to this faith that we love, often serve to shape our understandings of the truth. Moments like these require intentional processing, and careful listening. The way before us will not be achieved in ten short weeks of interim leadership at the upper levels of the UUA staff. Instead, it will be broad-based and faithful ongoing work that carries the potential for sustainable cultural change.
It is important to remember that the Commission on Institutional Change called for by our UUA Board of Trustees will be directing our process going forward. We want to assure you that the people most directly involved in, and impacted by, the hiring decision which prompted this moment of opportunity in Unitarian Universalism will have a chance to tell their stories to the Commission. That is critical work, and the primary focus of the Commission will remain on the impact of white supremacy on Unitarian Universalism as a whole.
The plans for and scope of work of that Commission are early in development. Later this week we are bringing together a small group of leaders connected to our UU constituency groups to partner with us to envision the construction of the Commission. These leaders all identify as people of color, because we believe it is critical for the Commission’s foundation to be rooted in the vision of Unitarian Universalists of color. With input from that group to inform us, our eventual task is to appoint a small and nimble group of commissioners who will work collaboratively with an outside organization to bring badly needed analysis, visioning, and theological depth to these efforts. That Commission may continue for 18 months or more. In the meantime, work on new interim hiring policies for the UUA continues to move forward. You can expect a more specific report from us on those policies in the next few weeks.
We want to acknowledge how emotional these times are for us as a community of faith, knowing that there are those among us whose personal and professional lives are immediately and directly affected and are often being discussed and debated in the public square. These are times for us to engage and communicate out of our most faithful selves, mindful of our first principle, striving to maintain relationship even when deeply held opinions vary. We invite you to join us in embracing these moments of opportunity for finding a new way forward.
This message is also available on UUA.org.
In general, more timely announcements will be presented here on the uuathensga.org/news page, but longer articles and columns by members, friends, and leadership, as well as monthly updates from Social Action Committee and others, will appear on the uuathensga.org/Tapestry page.